Sunderland control freak jailed for hiding secret cameras in woman's home - including the headboard of her bed

A control freak who hid secret cameras around a woman's home - including the headboard of her bed - has been put behind bars.

By Karon Kelly
Monday, 25 March, 2019, 14:05
Darren Mitchell

Tinder-user Darren Mitchell put covert recording devices in the victim's bathroom cabinet and even in a shower gel bottle.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman felt "violated and disgusted" and feared any footage that had been taken could end up shared on the internet.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court the woman had found a mobile phone in her bathroom cabinet and added: "On checking the bathroom she discovered he had concealed an iPhone in a shower gel bottle, in which he had cut a hole through so he could covertly record what went on."

The court heard the woman realised the headboard of her bed had been tampered with and found an iPad hidden inside, set to record any audio.

Mitchell had also hacked the woman's social media accounts and sent abusive messages to men she knew.

Mr Bunch said there was "no clear evidence" any footage had been leaked onto the internet but Mitchell's search history related to secret camera sites.

The court heard he had also been making contact with women on dating site Tinder.

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Mr Bunch said "very serious alarm and distress" was caused to the victim and Mitchell's behaviour has had a "substantial adverse effect" on her life.

Mitchell, 33, of Halidon Road, Sunderland, admitted controlling and coercive behaviour and has now been jailed for 18 months and given a lifelong restraining order to keep him away from the woman.

Judge Robert Spragg told him: "She said your behaviour has left her feeling unsafe and insecure in her own property.

"She feels violated and disgusted."

Tony Davis, defending, said Mitchell, who works full-time, has never been in trouble before and has sincere remorse for what he did.

Mr Davis said Mitchell has had a "shock" through the criminal justice system and that his behaviour can be changed, with rehabilitation.